Producing High Quality Rivets with CNC Machining(mig or tig welding Griffith)

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Rivets are a crucial fastening component used in many manufacturing industries such as aerospace, automotive, and construction. While rivets may seem simple, producing rivets that meet strict quality and consistency standards requires advanced manufacturing techniques. This is where computer numerical control (CNC) machining comes into play.
CNC machining is an automated manufacturing process that utilizes computer-controlled tools to shape and form material into custom parts and products. For rivet production, CNC machining enables precise control over the riveting process to churn out large volumes of rivets that have an identical profile and meet quality benchmarks.
In this article, we’ll explore how CNC machining is used to produce top-notch rivets efficiently and consistently.
Benefits of CNC Machining for Rivet Production
Here are some of the major advantages of using CNC machining for rivet manufacturing:
- Precision and Consistency: CNC machines provide extremely accurate machining up to 0.005mm precision. This results in every rivet having the exact same dimensions, shape and hole alignment.
- Efficiency: CNC automation allows rivet production to be scaled up easily. CNC machines can work faster and more efficiently than human operators. Hundreds or even thousands of rivets can be produced per hour.
- Flexibility: With some programming adjustments, CNC machines can produce different rivet sizes, shapes and head profiles. This makes it easy to switch between rivet product lines.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Though CNC systems require high upfront costs, they save money in the long run through fast production, minimal errors and material waste, and reduced labor requirements.
- Consistent Quality: The precision and repeatability of CNC machining ensures each rivet meets stringent quality standards during every production run.
CNC Milling Process for Rivet Manufacturing
The typical CNC machining process for making rivets involves CNC milling machines. Here are the step-by-step stages:
1. Design the rivet CAD model
Engineers create a 3D CAD model of the desired rivet shape, size, hole diameter, head profile, shank length, and other specifications.
2. Convert CAD into CNC toolpaths
The CAD model is converted into a CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) program that generates toolpaths. These instruct the CNC milling machine how to cut the rivet profile.
3. Prepare raw material
CNC mills use round bars of rivet raw material, usually steel or aluminum alloys. The material is cut into cylindrical slugs matching the rivet shank diameter.
4. Fixture the material
The raw slugs are fixed securely in a milling fixture that holds multiple slugs. Fixturing prevents vibration and slippage during machining.
5. Machine the rivet profile
The CNC milling machine executes the toolpaths to precisely cut each rivet’s features. This includes the shank, hole, head shape, chamfers, and other contours.
6. Finish and inspect rivets
After milling, the rivets undergo finishing steps like deburring, surface treatments, and inspection against quality standards. Automated vision systems can check for defects.
7. Package finished rivets
Accepted rivets are sorted, counted, and packaged into boxes, bags, or other containers. Packaging protects rivets during shipping and handling.
CNC Milling Tools for Rivet Machining
Specialized end mills and other cutters are utilized to cut and shape rivet profiles on CNC mills. Common tools include:
- Center cutting end mills to plunge the hole in the center of the rivet shank. Carbide or cobalt end mills offer longevity.
- Ball end mills to carve the rounded contours of rivet heads with good surface finish. Variable tip radius allows different curvatures.
- Chamfer mills to cut the angled chamfer around rivet shank holes for easier rivet insertion.
- Engraving cutters for marking rivets with product codes, logos, or identification numbers.
- Drills and reamers to accurately size the rivet holes. Reaming ensures hole roundness and finish.
The right tooling is essential for efficient material removal, dimensional accuracy, surface quality, and minimal burrs or breakage when machining rivets via CNC.
Secondary Finishing Processes
After the primary CNC milling process, rivets may undergo additional finishing steps:
- Media blasting with small glass or ceramic beads to smooth surfaces and remove burrs.
- Passivation or anodization to apply protective oxide layers on rivets made from metals like aluminum. This improves corrosion and wear resistance.
- Coatings like zinc plating can be applied through electroplating or e-coating processes. This protects against environmental damage.
- Heat treatment like quenching and tempering can alter the microstructure and mechanical properties of rivet materials.
- Quality assurance testing verifies rivet head retention, shear strength, pull out force, and other metrics.
By combining precision CNC machining with appropriate secondary finishing, manufacturers can cost-effectively produce durable and reliable high quality rivets at scale.
Applications of CNC Machined Rivets
Top quality rivets made via CNC milling are installed in many critical industries:
- Aircraft - Rivets secure the fuselage, wings, engine components and other aircraft structures where failure is unacceptable.
- Automobiles - Rivets provide robust fastening for auto body panels, frames, engines, transmissions and interior components.
- Railways - Rivets are extensively used in locomotive and carriage assembly and repair.
- Bridges - Structural steel rivets create solid connections for trusses, braces, girders and decking.
- Electronics - Small specialty rivets assemble casings for devices like laptops, phones and medical equipment.
- Pipelines - Hydraulic rivet tools installed rivets to connect pipeline segments rapidly.
By investing in CNC machining for rivets, manufacturers can better supply rivets optimized for these critical applications.
The Takeaway
From tiny electronics rivets just a few millimeters wide to massive rivets holding together aircraft fuselages, CNC machining enables mass production of rivets with unmatched quality consistency. The automation, precision tool control, and speed of CNC milling machines result in flawless, inexpensive rivets suited for all types of manufacturing. This makes CNC the go-to process for aerospace, automotive, appliance and other industries that rely on rivets for robust and trustworthy fastening. CNC Milling CNC Machining